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10 Questions with singer-songwriter Sarah McTernan

Sarah McTernan (pictured above) is a 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Scariff, County Clare. She came third in the series four of The Voice of Ireland in April 2015.

10 Questions with singer-songwriter Sarah McTernan

Sarah McTernan

Sarah came third in the series four of The Voice of Ireland in April 2015.

Sarah McTernan is a 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Scariff, County Clare. She came third in the series four of The Voice of Ireland in April 2015. At her blind audition, she sang Who You Are and all four judges turned their chairs. Her coach and mentor was Rachel Stevens of S Club 7 fame.


Sarah is an only child and has a 3-year-old daughter Mia who also loves to sing. After graduating from secondary school in 2011, Sarah took a pre-nursing course in Ennis, County Clare. Sarah has close ties to Limerick as she then went on to study Music Technology at Limerick Institute of Technology after which she took a break from education and worked in retail. Sarah McTernan represented Ireland in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and now is currently working on music for her debut album

  1. What was your childhood like? 

I grew up in the country, halfway between Mountshannon and Scarriff. I lived in a farmhouse with my grandparents’ house next door. My childhood was really lovely, I was very close to my grandparents and will be forever grateful for the time that I spent with them as a child, as they both have passed now. My grandmother passed in June this year. When I was growing up singing was a huge part of my life I would have the radio up full and sing along for hours. There wasn’t much else to do in the countryside growing up as a teenager.

  1. When did you know you wanted to start a career in music?

I always enjoyed singing. I would literally sing for hours in my bedroom growing up. dancing and singing into the mirror giving it socks. So it was always a burning passion. However, I was also super shy and still am a little bit. I would have never admitted to anyone that I wanted to be a singer when I was younger, or pursue a career in music. I did some school talent shows, which in hindsight I was very lucky to have such productions in my school. In Scariff community college music is greatly appreciated and supported. Originally on my CAO application I had voice and dance down in UL, there were a lot of negative comments on the lines on ‘but what will you do after?’, ‘it’s hard to make it as a singer yano!’ So that swayed me and I pursued a route of nursing, I completed a nursing studies course and loved it but did pursue it. It wasn’t really until after school I entered the voice of Ireland that I started admitting it to people that I wanted to pursue music as a career but I wasn’t 100% there yet. This year I have put my heart and soul into writing and finding myself as an artist. I have next year pretty sewn up with releasing music and I truly am so excited and I know now and can say happily that singing is my career and my passion. So I guess it’s always been on the backburner, but 2020 has been a hard year, yes but a massive turning point was after my grandmother passed away. There was nobody that believed in me more than her. So I decided the day after her funeral that I was going to lose the self-doubt and put everything I have into this.

Sarah McTernan

Sarah has close ties to Limerick as she then went on to study Music Technology at Limerick Institute of Technology after which she took a break from education and worked in retail.

  1. What advice would you give to your younger self? 

My younger self… hmmmm, I get emotional when I get asked this question because honestly I have been so lost, have lacked confidence and self-belief. It’s only in the last year that I have come into myself. I truly am grounded, content, believe in myself and most importantly love myself. 

So, to my younger self – Please stop looking at yourself like your less than others. You are worthy and you are good enough. You are a good person. You will find yourself it may take a while but you don’t need to be the same as everyone else. It’s ok to take your own journey. Be unapologetically your authentic self, always. 

  1. Who are your greatest inspirations? 

At the moment a huge inspiration is my grandmother. I can hear her words of encouragement, she was so supportive. Her passing was a pivotal moment with my mindset and career. The loss of someone close makes you realise, nothing is more important than family and love. It just switched something on in me that this was it I’m absolutely going for it. I know she’s guiding me.

One of my biggest inspirations in the industry is Becky Hill. She is absolutely killing the game, and I suppose I want to go down a similar avenue. She’s a huge inspiration to me at the moment. When I was growing up my greatest inspirations were, PINK, Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé. I would listen to their albums back to back try to imitate the way they sang for hours and hours. I just loved them. 

Sarah McTernan

Sarah represented Ireland in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.

  1. How did it feel representing Ireland in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest? 

It was amazing. I always had that as a goal and how bloody lucky am I to have that goal crossed off my list. I feel blessed for the people that I got to work with and the friends I made on that incredible journey. Genuinely made life friends from across the globe. It was the craziest moment when I was standing on that stage and the stage manager counted down from 5. I could hear my heartbeat, breathe, I don’t even know what I was thinking something took over me. It was exhilarating.

  1. What have been your greatest achievements? 

My biggest achievement, my pride and joy is my daughter. Forever and always no matter what comes and goes she is the best thing that’s ever come into my life. She’s the funniest, most caring little girl and I feel blessed. In terms of my career, my greatest achievements will be in 2021 😉 the best is yet to come. Sarah McTernan

  1. If you could go back to any moment in your career what would it be? 

I wouldn’t go back on anything. I believe every road you take and path you go down leads to the next step or at least self-discovery. 

  1. How has your career been affected by lockdown? 

Financially, I have been affected like everyone else. I haven’t had a gig since March. It’s really been an awful time for people’s mental health and loved ones we have lost. However, it’s surfaced a version of me that has been dormant. I have written and co-written and found myself as an artist. So I feel very grateful I have had this time to create and grow. I am very excited for 2021.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself having goals ticked off my list career-wise. One of my goals is to be established in the Irish/UK charts. Still writing, still releasing. In those 5 years, I would like to play at the O2 Arena. I have a few people that I want to write and release with also. 

  1. What do you love most about Limerick?

I honestly love Limerick. No matter where my path takes me I have always said I want to settle down in Limerick. I love the people, the atmosphere, the general vibes. There is a huge cultural side of Limerick and I’m in awe of it. Not to mention the amount of talent in Limerick; musicians, artists, bloggers and writers. The list goes on. I hold Limerick close to my heart.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.